21 Gun Salute is a gift that keeps on giving. The Red Angus bull brought $12,350 in a special auction at the National Western Stock Show this week, with the sellers donating the proceeds to the All American Beef Battalion. But that’s just part of the animal’s total earnings for the cause.

The story begins in December 2011, when seedstock producers Scott and Kim Ford, owners of Cross Diamond Cattle Co., Bertrand, Neb., offered the bull, CrsDiamnd 21 Gun Salute(RAAA #1402318) in their sale. But first, the Fords announced that all proceeds from the bull’s sale would benefit the All American Beef Battalion (AABB), a volunteer-based organization that honors our troops with steak dinners preceding or following their deployment overseas. Beef producer and Marine Corps veteran Bill Broadie of Ashland, Kan. founded the organization.

Three ranches -- Arcadia Land and Cattle Co. of Stringtown, Okla., Silver Spur Ranches of Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska and New Mexico, and Horsley Red Angus of Stringtown, Okla., jointly purchased 21 Gun Salute at the December sale, paying $12,500, and announced they would  re-sell the bull at the Denver stock show and again donate the proceeds to AABB.

So on Sunday afternoon, January 8, bidding for 21 Gun Salute led off the Mile High Classic Red Angus Sale at the National Western. A coalition of buyers including several state Red Angus associations and individuals put together a bid and purchased the bull for $12,350. But the generosity didn’t stop there. Following the bidding, the auctioneer opened the floor for donations from sale attendees in amounts of $250 or $500, a process that also took place at the original sale at Cross Diamond Cattle Co. The enthusiastic auction atmosphere picked up in the sale arena as state Red Angus associations and individuals called out their pledges, adding more than $7,000 to the total.

Next, the auctioneer announced that the coalition that purchased 21 Gun Salute had donated the bull back for sale, with free shipping and 30 days of insurance included. The auction heated up again, with rancher Jim Odle of Odle Livestock, Brush, Colo. purchasing the bull for $4,750. The afternoon’s total proceeds for the All American Beef Battalion came to $24,250.

The AABB has, to date, fed over 100,000 steak dinners to our soldiers, sailors and marines, and $24,000 will feed a bunch more. So congratulations to all those involved, and thank you for supporting such a worthy cause.

Watch Drovers/CattleNetwork this week for video interviews with Scott Ford from of Cross Diamond Cattle Co., Barry Horsley of Arcadia Land and Cattle Co. and Horsley Red Angus and Jim Odle of Odle Livestock discussing their efforts to support the AABB.